Pest control issues are something that both Tenants and Landlords want to avoid as much as possible. Pests can lead to health issues and property damage, so it’s beneficial for both Tenants and Landlords to keep pests at bay. Like many things, though, this is often easier said than done.
The key for Landlords is being proactive and having a plan for dealing with pest issues before, during, and after Tenants take possession of their property. Here are some tips to help you create the right plan for your rental property.
Note: You can also view our Pest Control video for tips on how Landlords should deal with this common problem.
When creating a pest control plan, it’s important to be familiar with some basic responsibilities that Landlords have. First, Landlords have a duty of habitability. This means that they must ensure that their rental properties comply with basic living and safety standards.
When thinking about this responsibility in the context of pest control, it means that Landlords need to ensure that their rental property is clean and pest-free at move-in. In addition, Landlords need to make necessary repairs to keep pests out. These include things like fixing cracks in the wall, repairing broken window or door seals, fixing torn screens, and repairing any openings in doors or windows.
Beyond that, Landlords should be familiar with state laws regarding pest-control responsibilities. Some states have specific requirements that Landlords must comply with, so it’s important to be familiar with these before creating a plan for pest control. You can review each state’s pest-control laws here.
Creating a Plan for Pest Control
Once you’ve ensured that your rental property is pest free and become familiar with your state’s laws, you’re ready to create the right plan for dealing with pest issues. Here are the key things to consider.
1. Address pest control in the Lease Agreement. The Lease Agreement should clearly state pest control responsibilities and leave no ambiguity as to who is responsible for ongoing pest maintenance or who is responsible for dealing with any pest issues that arise.
2. Educate Tenants on pest control issues. Landlords should discuss pest responsibilities with Tenants prior to move-in. This includes Tenant’s responsibilities for preventing pests by:
- Keeping the property clean
- Regularly taking out the garbage
- Putting food away
- Keeping countertops dry
- Treating pets for fleas
3. Have a plan for dealing with pest issues that arise during the Lease term. Even with the best pest control plan, it’s likely that at some point you’ll get a call from a Tenant complaining about pests. Should this happen, it’s important for Landlords to be responsive and to promptly address the Tenant’s concerns.
Be prepared for this call and know how you’ll handle it. Whether it’s inspecting the property and treating the issue yourself, ensuring Tenants have the supplies they need to treat the property, or call a professional company, have a plan so you can immediately address your Tenant’s concerns.
Pro Landlord Pest Control Tips
As a seasoned Landlord, I’ve done plenty of trial and error when it comes to pest control. Of course, my priority has been ensuring that all of my rental properties are safe and pest free. In addition, it was important to me to find a system that’s cost-effective, and that Tenants like. After trying lots of different methods, I’ve finally come up with a system that works for me, my Tenants, and all of my rental properties.
- Before a new tenant moves in, I treat the property by spraying inside and out. I also leave ant and roach discs under appliances and under any furniture. Finally, I leave extra treatment products at the property for Tenants to use if they want to. Doing this initial treatment is really easy and effective. Plus, you can get the products you need at most home improvement stores.
- At move-in, I talk with the Tenant about pest responsibilities. I explain that I’ve treated the property but make sure the Tenant understands that they’ll be responsible for pest control while living there. I give the Tenant tips about keeping pests out and let them know how to use the treatment products that are at the property.
- If Tenants call with issues, I’m already prepared because there are products at the property available to them.
This system has worked well for me, but each Landlord has to create a plan that works for them. Whatever system you settle on, I encourage you to be proactive about addressing pest issues; include Pest responsibilities in the Lease Agreement, and communicate all responsibilities to your Tenant.
Make Sure You Have the Tools You Need
Two keys to effectively dealing with pest issues are having a good Lease Agreement and having quality Tenants. A good Lease will make sure there’s no ambiguity about who is responsible for pest control. Plus, good Tenants are more likely to keep your home pest free and to stay on top of their pest control duties.
Emily Koelsch, ezLandlordForms Contributing Writer
Emily Koelsch is a freelance writer and blogger, who primarily writes about business, real estate, and technology.